Torn about Irene

Overflowed banks at the base of the waterfall at Silver Lake Park in Dover, Delaware

I know I’m crazy, but 36 hours post-hurricane Irene, I find myself wanting more.

I am such a sucker for a good storm. It’s exciting, suspenseful. It’s dark and a little dangerous—the ultimate change of scenery. It’s a spike on the chart of the everyday. It’s an adventure…without the hassle of leaving home.

As I look around, though, there’s a lot that I don’t want: day 2 of no electricity (like my parents and in-laws), my home under 4 feet of water (like the Trenton train station), and restrictions against going outside for fear of electrocution caused by downed live electric wires (like in Hoboken). And how would you like the possibility of the state giving the order to release the water from behind an overly taxed dam such that it submerges your town (as had been considered for one flood-related engineering emergency in Vermont)? If that’s not the ultimate in your tax dollars at work, I don’t know what is.

As I reflect on the fact that I am unscathed and wishing that the weekend’s events had been a bit more dramatic, I have to say, I’m curious. I wonder whether I should have revised the prayers I said early Friday afternoon to be more inclusive. Before the storm came, I rode my bicycle through my neighborhood and prayed for preservation of the homes. I rode past the middle school and prayed for safety of the students and their families. I rode through the park and prayed specifically for the trees to stay standing. I prayed for my family’s bungalow in Seaside Park, NJ that it wouldn’t end up free-floating in the Atlantic, a lifetime of summer memories and our vintage Archie comics floating out along with it.

Ultimately, I got everything I asked for (and for that, I am thankful, of course). Should I have prayed for more areas, I wonder, with more specificity? Should I have made a virtual circle of the whole east coast as I circled the neighborhoods on my bike? Should I have put my hand on the electric meter and prayed for the integrity of the middle states grid? Should I have prayed that the trees of Silver Lake Park be standing, but not in 6 feet of water, as they were on Sunday morning?

I don’t know. What I do know is that the sun is shining now, and the aftermath of the storm is not something that is affecting me directly. It’s a good thing. I wonder if the post-Irene feeling that I have is like the one athletes get when they make it to the semis but get knocked out on the eve of the finals. Not having to fight the big guys is disappointing, but I’ll tell you what—it’s also a relief.